It’s strange to think that just a little over five years ago Kentucky’s Red River Gorge had a small selection of “easy” 5.
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14s and no truly hard1 testpieces. With a few notable open projects laying in wait and seemingly endless walls of sandstone filling the Kentucky hills, many people felt as thought it was a matter of time before routes in the hard 5.
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14 or even easy 5.15 range started to get done.
Visiting climbers like Mike Doyle, Joe Kinder and Jonathan Siegrist helped usher in a handful of hard climbs in the past few years with their FA’s of routes like Lucifer (5.14c), Southern Smoke (5.14c) and Pure Imagination (5.14d) respectively. In addition to these visitors, a local climber, Adam Taylor, has been having as much if not more success pushing the limits in the Red. The generally under the radar Taylor has repeated all the aforementioned hard routes2 and established one of his own in The Golden Ticket (5.14d) which he did the FA of back in 2009.
This fall Taylor has been seen repeating Lucifer again and doing the 2nd ascent of Siegrist’s Twenty Four Karats (5.14c), so it shouldn’t be that surprising to read this report from DPM that Taylor has done the FA of what is likely the hardest route in the Red, Southern Smoke Direct. Southern Smoke Direct climbs the direct start to Southern Smoke 3 adding a difficult, potentially V13 or V14, boulder problem onto the start bumping the grade up to an estimated 5.15a.
Read the full report here to find out more about Taylor’s thoughts on the route as well as how many pull-ups he could do at the top of Southern Smoke after taking a training lap4.
- In the grand scheme of things ↩
- Among many others ↩
- Which itself is actually a more direct start to Ultra-perm (5.13d) which climbs up an adjacent slab before transitioning onto the headwall.
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3 starts, 1 finish. Got that? ↩
- Hint: way more than I’ve ever done on the ground ↩
I’ve done about 60 pullups . . . in the last year. Kid is a monster.
An inspiration to weekend warriors everywhere! Is this Adam at 00:59 ?
Adam is the climber on Black Gold just after the one minute mark. Good eye.
that’s a big step step up from smashing bolts a few years ago.
That’s what you key in on, not the accomplishment of possibly bringing a new grade to one of the best areas in the world
Hat’s off to adam, for giving back to the area and bolting routes. It’s more important than climbing hard, but doing both don’t hurt.
Happy thanksgiving to all
Agreed that bringing up the bolt smashing doesn’t really add to anything, but has Adam actually bolted any of these routes??
Adam did re-bolt southern smoke and the direct start after they were botched in the initial bolt job. But you are correct in that he did not bolt this line, are many of the other hard lines at the red that he has done. After all, why bolt when there are so many projects laying around. That being said, Adam has picked up a drill lately and has been bolting quite a bit so I imagine a lot of the news that will be coming out of the red will be things he not only sent but bolted as well.
Word to that
Sorry Narc I did not mean this route was bolted by Adam, meant other routes.
HAPPY turkey day to all those outside
He should of called it the Southern Smoke Sit…
In WI we would have called it Southern Smoke Triple Direct or some such thing